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WITH CLEVER SOLUTIONS TO EVERYDAY PROBLEMS
Collector’s HINTS Edition CELEBRATING 500 ISSUES
CELEBRATING 500 ISSUES
101 Handy Hints
Blow apart stuck 5-gal. buckets
My dad and I have figured out a way to get those stuck-together 5-gallon and blow compressed air into the lower one.
Stain-saving spray applicator
Save your empty pump-type sprayers that have an adjustable-spray tip and use them to apply wiping
pails apart nearly every time. We just push an air nozzle between the buckets
stain. Spray a small section at a time, then wipe it. You’ll be surprised how little stain you use to complete the job this way compared with brushing. This technique is especially helpful for applying stain to intricate parts like spindles.
[I didn’t believe this until I tried it. The secret is to push the air nozzle tip into the side of the top bucket to create a path for the air to get into the bottom one. The top bucket is propelled by a cushion of air beats them and lifts right out. It sure pounding apart—and
sometimes to pieces— with a hammer.—Editor]
CELEBRATING 500 ISSUES WITH CLEVER SOLUTIONS TO EVERYDAY PROBLEMS
101 Handy Hints
See-through junk drawer in a bag
I store my extra fasteners in a clear plastic bag instead of a coffee can or junk drawer. Searching for the correct nut, bolt or whatever is as easy as looking “through” the bag, reaching in and plucking it from the mix.
Duct tape wristbands
When you’re working with fiberglass insulation, tape the cuffs of your long-sleeved shirts to gloves with duct tape. It’ll keep the glass fibers from getting under sleeves and irritating your skin. Your wrists will thank you.
PICTURE HANGER PLATE
Tape measure holder
Spray can nozzle cleaner
Nozzles from cans of spray paint tend to clog with dried paint after use.
Since I’ve never had a specific place to store my tape measure, I could never find it when I needed it. I solved the problem by screwing a large picture hanger plate onto the wall behind my workbench. Now, I hook the tape measure onto the hanger when I’m finished and have no trouble finding it at all.
Here’s a trick to keep them clear for the next project. Remove the nozzle and stick it on your can of WD40 (most are the same size and shape). Just give the nozzle a quick squirt to clear it out, then return the nozzle to its rightful place.
CELEBRATING 500 ISSUES WITH CLEVER SOLUTIONS TO EVERYDAY PROBLEMS
Now we can suck flies down from the highest skylights in the house. stop digging (leaving the digger in the hole) and check the depth on the handles. Louise Veldhuizen Bill Robinson 8 pipe Wrench for rounded bolt heads wrench! The ROUNDED BOLT Loosen bolts with worn. With a permanent marker. so keeping flies out of the house and evicting them once they’ve moved in is a constant headache. make a line every 6 in. Then my husband thought of duct-taping a 10-ft. rounded heads with a pipe wrench jaws dig in and grab the head so you can remove the bolt. length of PVC pipe onto the end of the nozzle. Skip the hassle by turning the handles of your posthole digger into built-in measuring sticks.101 Handy Hints 7 Posthole gauge Digging a posthole requires you to constantly stop and remove the digger to measure the depth of the hole. ® 9 High fly sucker-upper We live on a farm. The problem was that the hose didn’t reach the skylights. up the handles from the tips of the digging blades. we simply suck them up with a vacuum cleaner nozzle. Jeff Larson CELEBRATING 500 ISSUES WITH CLEVER SOLUTIONS TO EVERYDAY PROBLEMS . When they swarm against the inside of the windows. When you get close to the desired depth.
and screw them together. and hang your bike from the hooks. Tired of that darn bike hanging in your way? Build this movable bike rack from a 2x4 and a pair of bicycle hooks. Tear off a piece of tinfoil long enough to cover the top of your couch. and set it on the cushions. Lay the rack across your garage ceiling joists. Now screw Brian Bubenzer 11 Tinfoil couch-saver them on the end of a 4ft. Keep your cats off the couch with tinfoil. Run long screws across the soap before you drive them and they’ll smoothly penetrate the wood without stripping the screwhead. 2x4 and repeat the process for the other side. The feel and sound of tinfoil drives cats nuts and they’ll immediately jump off. Drill a hole in the middle of the stacked blocks and screw in the bicycle hooks. When you need to get behind the bike. Carolyn Quintiliano Kitty Fay CELEBRATING 500 ISSUES WITH CLEVER SOLUTIONS TO EVERYDAY PROBLEMS . Cut four 3-1/2-in. simply slide the entire rack out of the way. blocks.101 Handy Hints 10 Screw-lube on a string Drill a hole through a bar of soap and ® 12 Movable bike rack hang it above your workbench. stack two on top of each other.
Paint one side of the door. remove the bolts. make a template. Level and tape the template into position on the wall. ® 15 Scratch that layout that have BACK OF MAILBOX Items mounting holes on the back can be tricky to hang level. in from each end. P. fill the holes with putty and touch up with paint. and the caulk will virtually disappear. To ease the layout process. When it’s dry. lag bolts at a hardware store. Screw one into the center of the top edge and the other two into the bottom edge 6 in.S. If the mounting holes are oddly spaced.101 Handy Hints 13 Disguising caulk on concrete If you’re caulking concrete. you can make the caulk almost invisible. other side of the door. brush away the excess. Ron Ross William G. Set a piece of paper over the back side of the item and rub over the outline and mounting holes with a pencil. either to fill a crack or to seal it around the edge. Simply dust the caulk with dry concrete mix while it’s still wet. then drill pilot holes and secure the fasteners. x 4-in. Purchase three 3/8-in. When the door is dry. Freed CELEBRATING 500 ISSUES WITH CLEVER SOLUTIONS TO EVERYDAY PROBLEMS . make sure you don’t MAILBOX MOUNTING LOCATION 14 Door painting helper MOUNTING HOLES E IN TL OU Paint both sides of a door at once with this nifty trick. Now paint the edges and 3/8" x 4" LAG BOLT reverse the template when you tape it to the wall. then lift the door by the two bolts and flip it over using the single bolt as a pivot.
101 Handy Hints 16 2-1/2" RISER BLOCK ® Air hose station 18 Chip terminator When you’re cutting off the bottom of an interito get a clean line because the wood veneer chips very easily. from the line on the waste side. riser block to the edge of the plywood and hang the entire contraption from a wall or workbench. and ease the edge with sandpaper. glue foam pipe insulation to the metal garage door rib with rubber cement. Drape your air hose over the coffee can. The wood will chip up to the line. and store your fittings inside. it’s difficult Anna Victoria Reich 19 Hatchback protector Have you ever tried the juggling act of loading and unloading a hatchback while keeping the hatch from banging against the metal rib of the open garage door? To protect your car’s finish. Screw a coffee can onto a scrap piece of plywood. The hatch will rest damage free against the foam. Eliminate chipping by first scoring the cutting line with a sharp utility knife. or veneered door with a circular saw. just tape a flexible drinking straw to the tip of your caulking gun and you’ll be ready to caulk into any nook the straw will reach. but not past it. Al Danas Rick Tatanus CELEBRATING 500 ISSUES WITH CLEVER SOLUTIONS TO EVERYDAY PROBLEMS . Attach a 2-1/2-in. Keep your air hose and fittings in one place and out of the way. Make your saw cut 1/16 in. Walter Barndt 17 Caulking extender If you have to get caulk into a tight spot. It also works great for hanging extension cords.
Quick-draw the drill out of the holster when you’re ready for action. screws to mount 1-1/4-in. Whenever I grab a fishing rod. On the second 1x4. PVC couplings (35¢ each). 1x4 in half and used 1-in. The rod tips slide up through the couplings and the handles rest in the caps. and the one with couplings 6 ft.101 Handy Hints 20 Long-term storage ® 22 rod. Screw 16-in. scrap 2x4s at a slight upward angle to each side of a wall stud. off the floor and directly above it. apart. PVC caps (42¢ each) on one 1x4 4 in. PVC elbow ($3) to the side of your workbench. To solve the problem. I cut an 8-ft. it always catches on the line from another and it’s quite a headache to untangle the lines. Mark and Miriam Joe Jaquesmoe CELEBRATING 500 ISSUES WITH CLEVER SOLUTIONS TO EVERYDAY PROBLEMS . I equally spaced 1-1/4-in. Fishing rod catcher NEVER CATCHES ANYTHING One way to get rid of clutter in your storage shed or garage is to do what we did. They will hold a wide variety of yard tools. I Tina Campbell 21 Cordless drill holster 45-DEGREE 4" PVC ELBOW screwed the 1x4 with the caps to the wall a foot off the floor. Make a nifty cordless drill holster by screwing a 45degree 4-in.
thread it through the hole and screw the cap on. Pipe insulation can also be used to soften the handles on brooms. shovels and other tools. If you’ve got a lot of raking to do. I stuck it in an old milk crate. pipe insulation over the rake handle to protect your hands from blisters. it always rolled around in the trunk of my car. To solve the problem. The crate’s wide. Stack several pans together for extra workspace or storage. Drop the ball of twine into the jug. propane tank to be filled.101 Handy Hints 23 Muffin pan parts tray When I work on small projects or ® 25 Padded rake holder take something apart. TAPE 3/4" PIPE INSULATION Tom Zeman Chris White TAPE Propane 24 tank carrier Whenever I took my 20-lb. tape 3/4-in. Screw the jug to your shop wall with the spout facing down. Cut the bottom off the jug and drill a hole in the cap. 26 Twine dispenser Prevent balls of twine from tangling up by making a twine dispenser from an empty plastic detergent jug. flat base keeps the tank stable. Doug Milder Paul Chupek CELEBRATING 500 ISSUES WITH CLEVER SOLUTIONS TO EVERYDAY PROBLEMS . I use muffin pans to keep everything organized.
Aaron Zeff Dorothy Gore 29 Disappearing remotes If your remote controls are cluttering up your coffee table and getting lost behind sofa cushions. put the soft (loop) material on the remotes. After 10 minutes. Daniel Griesbach CELEBRATING 500 ISSUES WITH CLEVER SOLUTIONS TO EVERYDAY PROBLEMS . To avoid snags on upholstery and clothing. and now my sandpaper is well organized and in pristine condition. Hook-and-loop strips are available for about $7 a package at home centers and discount and hardware stores.101 Handy Hints 27 Sandpaper filer My sheets of sandpaper used to get crumpled and damaged lying around the shop. Apply adhesive-backed hook-and-loop strips to the underside of the coffee table and to the backs of the remotes. here’s how to neaten up. but you’ll always know where to find them. Now all the controls are hidden from view. and then leave the door closed and let the steam loosen the mess. Boil the water for a minute. open the door and wipe away the grime. I purchased a file folder ($4) from an office supply store. ® 28 Microwave cleaner It’s easy to clean baked-on food and spills from your microwave! Partially fill a measuring or coffee cup with water and add a slice of lemon.
from one end. Then cut V-notches 1 ft. CAUTION: Steel stud track has sharp edges. create a drawer stop with a 3-in. Thomas De Luca METAL BAR STOCK Patrick M. Tip the strip and slide the drawer in. Plumber’s tape is meant to seal pipe threads. Drill a 3/16-in. hole 1 in. V-NOTCH 12" CELEBRATING 500 ISSUES WITH CLEVER SOLUTIONS TO EVERYDAY PROBLEMS . Reinforce all the corners with steel framing screws. So I wrapped the threads with plumber’s tape and haven’t had to readjust the feet since. from the top so it’ll swing freely. Super-duty steel stud shelf brackets Build two super-strong shelf brackets with a steel-framing track. Downey 31 Plumber’s tape tightens loose threads The threaded leveling feet on the legs of my kitchen table fit loosely and tended to work their way out of adjustment every few weeks. Set a shelf board on top. Screw one end of the track to the wall studs with a 10-in. ® 32 strip of 1/8-in. but this trick works on any sloppy-fitting bolts or screws.101 Handy Hints 30 Drawer stop To keep a drawer from being pulled out. bringing the ends together. The heavier end of the strip hangs down and keeps the drawer from falling out. lengths. Screw the metal strip to the back of the drawer about 1 in. Use a tin snips to cut two 41in. 1x4 and then fold the track at the notches. Wear gloves to protect your hands. in from both ends as shown. metal bar stock.
so there’s no time to fool around while mixing. The rubber band prevents the screws from loosening. slip a wide rubber band around the neck of the globe where the screws grip it. LIGHT SHADE RUBBER BAND Dean Sternhagen CELEBRATING 500 ISSUES WITH CLEVER SOLUTIONS TO EVERYDAY PROBLEMS . No more fumbling with to your key ring in the dark trying find the house key.101 Handy Hints No-rattle 34 ceiling fan If the screws that hold the light globe to your ceiling fan tend to work loose and then hum or rattle. Garden 36 caddy gear An old golf bag—especially one on a cart—is perfect for storing and hauling garden tools. ® Self35 selecting key Drill a second key ring hole near the edge of your house key so it will hang at an angle and stand out from the others. It’ll cut your mixing time in half and fluff up the compound like whipped cream. dampens any noise and protects the globe from overzealous screw tighteners. Get them all to the garden in one trip and park them in the caddy shack when you’re done. Chuck an old beater from a kitchen mixer into a cordless drill. Fore! Randy Roush Mud 33 mixer Powdered drywall setting compound sets up quickly.
Ralph Mezzoni 1/4” HOLE SPRAYER HOSE 39 Stop sinksprayer hang-ups If you have to jiggle the hose as you pull out your kitchen sink sprayer.101 Handy Hints 37 Improved wheelbarrow Drill 1/4-in. slip 1/2-in. holes near the rim of your wheelbarrow and you can use a ® 38 Under-sink archives stretch cord to hold down bulky loads like brush or slippery loads like lumber. Francis Bradley CELEBRATING 500 ISSUES WITH CLEVER SOLUTIONS TO EVERYDAY PROBLEMS . Get the insulation at home centers for about $3. They’ll always be right where you need them. Don’t file away the manuals for your kitchen and bath fixtures. For smooth operation. slip them into a locking plastic bag and hang the bag in the cabinet under the sink. Toss in paint samples and spare cabinet hardware too. foam pipe insulation over the pipes and shutoff handles. Instead. Tape it 1/2" PIPE INSULATION if it won’t stay put. chances are the hose is SHUTOFF VALVE catching on the shutoff valves.
drywall anchors. tie the other end to your wreath and then drive the screw in completely. here’s how to provide space for all your vital beauty potions: Get a couple of those shelves that are designed to hang from a shower arm and hang them on cabinet knobs.101 Handy Hints Hanging 40 wreath a on a door To hang a wreath on a door—without leaving an ugly nail hole—drive a small screw into the top of the door. ® 42 His-and-hers shower shelves If you need more than shampoo and a bar of soap in the shower. stick a screwdriver bit in a 1/4-in. Tie a piece of fishing line to the screw. Use No. 8-32 hanger screws ($1) to screw the knobs into studs or John Day Tight-spot 41 screwdriver When you need to turn a screw in a space that’s too small for a screwdriver. wrench. leaving the head protruding slightly. Bruce Clark CELEBRATING 500 ISSUES WITH CLEVER SOLUTIONS TO EVERYDAY PROBLEMS .
LOW-EXPANSION FOAM CELEBRATING 500 ISSUES WITH CLEVER SOLUTIONS TO EVERYDAY PROBLEMS . Bruce Lyon YARD TOOLS ”FUEL” 45 Stiffen a shower arm Here’s a quick way to make a loose shower arm stay put: Pull the escutcheon plate away from the wall. Then shoot in a little expanding foam sealant. Use a lowexpansion foam and inject just enough foam to fill in around the arm. Mask around the arm and surrounding area to prevent a mess. Keep your car’s maintenance records in the car itself and you’ll never have to ransack your house looking for them.101 Handy Hints 43 Accessorize your mower ® 44 Car-care file in the trunk If you keep a few tools handy while you mow. Short sections of PVC pipe taped to the mower’s handle will hold tools and other necessities. you can deal with stray weeds as you notice them—no need to hunt for them later. Just put them in a locking plastic bag and slip them under the carpet in the trunk.
You’ll be the fashion setter for all the other weed whackers on the block. Twist a loop in the cable to make carrying or hanging up your bundle easier. The elastic bands will hold them up over your knees. Here’s a slick solution: Cut the legs off a pair of old sweat pants. Measure carefully before snipping your sweats so they drape nicely Patrick Nagi CARRYING LOOP over your shoes. ® 47 Weed-whacking chaps String trimmers leave your yard looking great—and your work pants and boots stained something fierce.101 Handy Hints 46 Oversized twist ties Leftover scraps of electrical cable can tie up or tie down just about anything. then slide them upside down over your work pants. ELASTIC ABOVE KNEES Sheila Lincicome LEGS CUT OFF OLD SWEAT PANTS DRAPE OVER SHOES CELEBRATING 500 ISSUES WITH CLEVER SOLUTIONS TO EVERYDAY PROBLEMS .
So I picked up some adhesive-backed felt at the hardware store and cut it into strips. Spread a You don’t have to wash out your paint roller if you’ll be using it 14-in. 50 again Plasticwrapped paint roller tomorrow. For light that lasts. use a bulb designed to withstand hard knocks. so they may not survive long in garage door openers. “Rough-use” bulbs cost about $4 at home centers.-long strip of plastic wrap on a flat surface and push the roller over the plastic. Matthew Rodgers Will Reeves CELEBRATING 500 ISSUES WITH CLEVER SOLUTIONS TO EVERYDAY PROBLEMS .101 Handy Hints 48 Silence creaking pipes The groaning in my basement made me think I had ghosts. Then I removed each hanger and wrapped the pipe before refastening the hanger. Seal the ends with twist ties. Then I realized that running the hot water made my copper pipes expand and grind against pipe hangers and joists. FELT ® 49 Longer-lasting light for garage door openers Standard light bulbs can’t take much vibration.
Cover your windows with a few of those plastic panels made to cover lights in suspended ceilings. discs. Get acrylic rather than styrene—it’s less brittle and cuts better on a table saw. leaving a slightly tapered edge. piece costs about $7 at home centers.101 Handy Hints 51 Let in light and keep tools out of sight ® 53 Edge-trim your paint roller 54 Sanding disc storage Like drill bits. A 2 x 4-ft. and your roller will be as good as new.and 5-in. disc Don’t let window-peeking thieves see that your shop is full of valuable tools. To help you sort and store 4-1/2. Dean Hallal Allen Block 52 High-speed hex wrench Cut off the angled end of a hex wrench with a hacksaw and stick the straight section into your drill for faster hex-screw driving. Unlike stick-on window film. Those ragged edges and tiny beads of dried paint on your paint roller may seem harmless. plastic panels are easy to remove if you drill holes and hang them on nails. Bernard Jankowski CELEBRATING 500 ISSUES WITH CLEVER SOLUTIONS TO EVERYDAY PROBLEMS . but they’ll leave ugly tracks in your paint job. sanding discs have an annoying habit of wandering off. Trim them off. use a wallet-style compact holder.
Michael Wright A dab of glow-in-the-dark paint means no more groping for the light switch at night. CELEBRATING 500 ISSUES WITH CLEVER SOLUTIONS TO EVERYDAY PROBLEMS . thin-set or anything else that hardens. A little WD-40 will clean away any adhesive residue. cheap (25¢ to $1 each) and come in a range of sizes. J. The paint dries clear and glows for about eight hours after exposure to light. Wrap your putty knife or trowel with duct tape when you’re mixing ANYTHING THAT HARDENS DUCT TAPE Perry Barnhart 58 Stop losing socks Stuff a strip of foam pipe insulation into the space between 56 Glow-inthe-dark switch your washer and your dryer or along the wall.101 Handy Hints Hang-it55 all hooks Those plastic hooks that plumbers use to support pipes make convenient hangers for just about anything. Tear off the tape before the compound gets crusty. Get it at a paint or craft store for about $5. It makes cleanup a breeze. ® 57 Easy tool cleanup grout. socks can’t slip into the abyss. That way. They’re strong. Find them in the plumbing aisle at home centers and hardware stores.
you can drill holes in the pipe to decrease the cylinder’s weight. blueprints or anything long and skinny—you name it. ® 60 Renew a knife blade Utility knife blades often dull near the tip long before the rest of the blade loses its edge. try this: Pick a secret number and add it to each of the combination numbers. Use the cylinders to store and protect fishing rods. CLEANOUT PLUG Rick Brandau CELEBRATING 500 ISSUES WITH CLEVER SOLUTIONS TO EVERYDAY PROBLEMS . Twist in a threaded cleanout plug for a cap. Glue an end cap to one end and a female adapter to the other pipe end with PVC cement. Parts are available in an assortment of diameters at any hardware store or home center.101 Handy Hints 59 Cheap storage cylinders Build cheap storage cylinders from PVC pipe. Cut the pipe to length with a handsaw or chop saw. subtract your secret number from each number to determine the combination. female adapters and cleanout plugs. drill bits. end caps. To get more mileage out of a blade. Carl Hines 61 Secret code for combination locks Edward Anderson If you have trouble remembering your lock combination. Mark the resulting higher numbers on the lock itself with a FEMALE ADAPTER label or rotary tool. Presto! You’ve got a new sharp tip. put on a pair of safety glasses and snap off the tip with pliers. crosscountry skis. When you need to open the lock. If sealing isn’t important.
auto parts stores) makes nozzle. here’s how to quiet them: Stick cabinet door bumpers to the door stop.101 Handy Hints Under-joist 62 shelf ® 63 Slam stopper If your doors tend to slam or rattle. A small transmission funnel ($5 at hardware and Create extra storage space by screwing wire closet shelving to joists in your garage or basement. A pack of bumpers costs about $2 at home centers. And that lets you turn your vacuum into a power inflator for toys and air mattresses. you can plug the hose into the exhaust port. Depending on the width. Jeff Girard 64 Rapid inflation On many shop vacuums. wire shelves cost from $1 to $3 per foot at home centers. Place the bumper wherever the door first contacts the door stop molding. Wire shelving is see-through. so you can easily tell what’s up there. FUNNEL a perfect DUCT TAPE Marty Comisky David Cotner CELEBRATING 500 ISSUES WITH CLEVER SOLUTIONS TO EVERYDAY PROBLEMS .
It’s faster than making a list. and the camera is more reliable than your memory. Use an easyrelease tape to avoid wall damage. Be prepared for a mucky shower of gutter sludge. Then blast out the clog with your leaf blower. Snap a few pictures and take the camera shopping with you. don’t use this trick unless you’re sure that all the water has drained out of the downspout.101 Handy Hints 65 Hardware store helper A digital camera helps you get the right thingamajig at the hardware store. and always use a GFCI-protected outlet. when you’re cutting or drilling a hole in drywall. Tape a bag below the work zone to catch the dust. Jim Burke Stuart Balderson CELEBRATING 500 ISSUES WITH CLEVER SOLUTIONS TO EVERYDAY PROBLEMS . ® 67 Downspout blowout Here’s a way to unplug a downspout without climbing a ladder: Wait a day or two after rain to let all the water seep past the clog and out of the downspout. If you have an electric Tony Medley 66 Dust catcher Minimize the mess leaf blower.
Find the one you need at a glance with this handy rack made from 3. Fold a piece of duct tape over the open tube to seal it. slower is better because water soaks in rather than runs off the soil. TAPE SEALS TIP Jerry Maddy TWIST OVER AT 45 DEGREES FOR EASY-GRAB TAB CELEBRATING 500 ISSUES WITH CLEVER SOLUTIONS TO EVERYDAY PROBLEMS . out of the reach of children. Fold the tape’s loose end back on itself at a 45-degree angle so the end of the tape can’t stick to the roll. Poke a hole through the tape and hang the tube on pegboard. holes in the bottom of a bucket and set it next to thirsty plants.-diame- David Korte Easy-up 69 masking tape End frustration when finding the end of your masking tape. Now you have a triangular tab to pull without prying at the roll with your fingernail. Elastic cords can quickly become a tangled mess. 71 Cord organizer ter holes in the pipe to match the slightly stretched lengths of your cords.101 Handy Hints 68 Soaker bucket When it comes to watering. Just drill 1/2-in.or 4-in. Here’s a way to soak the soil without dragging hoses around: Drill four 1/8-in. Keep it in your trunk or shop. PVC pipe. leaving a few inches of extra tape. Slow watering usually means running your garden hose at a trickle or using a soaker hose. ® Taped-up 70 caulk tubes Here’s a slick tip to keep partially used caulk tubes well sealed and at hand.
suck out the water and the obstruction with a wet/dry shop vacuum. stick toothpicks into the nail holes. a plunger may not be the solution—it might only push the obstruction in deeper. Leave the toothpicks protruding about 1/8 in.101 Handy Hints 72 Drain vacuum When a hard object like a toothbrush. After painting. Mark Serkanic Leroy Dahl 74 Preserve picture holes A fresh coat of paint can fill in and hide small nail holes. A package of pipe insulation costs about $4 at home centers and hardware stores. so you can roll right over them. So if you plan to hang pictures in their same locations when the job is done. you can pull out the toothpicks and then put nails and pictures exactly where they were. You’ll feel like Superman! of 3/4-in. comb or toy plugs a toilet ® 73 Trunk bumpers Keep a couple of sections or drain. pipe insulation in your trunk to protect both the car’s paint and your oversized cargo. Jim Christensen CELEBRATING 500 ISSUES WITH CLEVER SOLUTIONS TO EVERYDAY PROBLEMS . Instead.
Lynn Samples 76 Quick blade cover-up by slitting open a length and using it as a blade cover for sharp saws and other tools.101 Handy Hints Garden tool 75 hideaway A mailbox near your garden provides a convenient home for tools. From our “oldie but goodie” collection: Recycle old garden hose 78 Wet the brush before you paint minimize crusty paint To Thomas Cook buildup on bristles and make brush cleaning easier. dip the brush in mineral spirits. thorough mixing of twopart epoxy. In hot. dip the brush occasionally during painting. If you’re using an oil-based finish. A small mailbox like this one costs less than $10 at hardware stores and home centers. Punch a small hole in the bag to make a neat dispenser. put the components into a plastic bag and knead them together with your fingers. dry weather. OLD GARDEN HOSE Edwin Judd CELEBRATING 500 ISSUES WITH CLEVER SOLUTIONS TO EVERYDAY PROBLEMS . King-size models cost about $25. dip your brush in water and shake out the excess before you paint with latex paint. ® 77 Nomess epoxy mixer For quick.
101 Handy Hints 79 Paint tray liner ® 80 Electrical box tool holders Glad Press’n Seal plastic wrap ($5 at discount stores) is meant to seal food containers. Junction boxes can hold a lot more than switches and wiring. Bruce Hall CELEBRATING 500 ISSUES WITH CLEVER SOLUTIONS TO EVERYDAY PROBLEMS . just peel the sticky plastic off the tray and throw it away—no paint-caked tray to clean up. They come in different sizes and shapes and cost 50¢ to $2 each. But it also makes a great paint tray liner. When you’re done painting. Heat softens the adhesive for easy release. Deanna Heath Fresh 81 tape Sometimes. masking tape that’s been sitting on a shelf for years won’t pull off the roll without tearing. Freshen it by micro-waving it for 10 seconds. Nail or screw them wherever you need handy holders for small stuff.
101 Handy Hints Bumper 82 sticker release Heat from a hair dryer softens adhesive. When the room’s due for a fresh coat. allowing the heat to loosen the sticker. Start at one corner and pull slowly. you’ll be ready to go. Stick the tape to the back of the light switch plate. King 83 Painter’s reminder 85 Unclog a nozzle When you’re finishing a painting project. Use a glass jar. making bumper stickers. John Paulis Chris Hinckley CELEBRATING 500 ISSUES WITH CLEVER SOLUTIONS TO EVERYDAY PROBLEMS . To get the exact shade next time. Cap the jar and let the solvent work for a few hours. When a spray nozzle is clogged—or partially clogged. write on a piece of masking tape the date and how many gallons of paint were needed for the job. also include the color formula sticker peeled off the paint can. price tags and other labels easy to pull off. since these strong solvents will destroy some types of plastic. so the paint just sputters out—soak it in a jar of acetone or nail polish remover. ® Keep 84 pictures level A pinch of mounting putty (the sticky stuff used to hang posters) keeps pictures level without damaging walls. Michael A.
Clear tubing is available at home centers in several widths starting at 1/8 in. It will make watering “the back 40” an easy task. and open the valve. Then just hook up the hose at the spigot end. whatever sprinkler you want at the other end.101 Handy Hints 86 Shoe pocket ® 87 Countertop gap filler Hanging shoe bags are great for closets. Jim Gish CELEBRATING 500 ISSUES WITH CLEVER SOLUTIONS TO EVERYDAY PROBLEMS . but they can also cut the clutter in your garage. If crumbs. workshop or laundry room. A shoe bag like this one costs about $12 at discount stores. fill the void with nearly invisible plastic tubing. papers or even flatware falls into the gap between your countertop and refrigerator. Sara Finley Lori Steiner 88 Easy watering CONDUIT STRAP Stop dragging your gar- den hose all over the yard by attaching it to your fence with conduit straps (available in the electrical section of home centers).
The rod-holding hook on these brackets comes in handy in the garage and workshop too. lay down squares of self-adhesive vinyl tile.101 Handy Hints 89 Under-cabinet cleanup ® 91 When the floor of your sink cabinet needs a spruce-up. You can bend the hook to suit long tools or cords. provide an easy-to-wipe-clean surface. Kyle Schroeder CELEBRATING 500 ISSUES WITH CLEVER SOLUTIONS TO EVERYDAY PROBLEMS . Melanie Ternes Dan Rios METAL DETECTOR FISH TAPE DAMAGED CABINET BOTTOM Double 90 duty shelf brackets Shelf brackets designed to support clothes hanger rods aren’t just for closets. Closet brackets cost about $3 each at home centers and hardware stores. They’re about a buck a square at home centers and PEEL-ANDSTICK TILE Locate sprinkler lines Before you dig. Feed fish tape through an open sprinkler head and locate the line with a metal detector ($20 to $45 for rental). find your underground sprinkler lines to avoid damaging them.
If you drill through the bottom.ANDLOOP TAPE Cynthia Murphy 93 Trash can vacuum breaker Nature abhors a vacuum. Now you have a great place to store car items and haul bags of groceries without them toppling over.101 Handy Hints 92 Drill bit guide Drill bits can wander when you’re starting a hole on a hard. hole in the can. Break the vacuum and save your back by drilling a 1/2-in. A 9 x 12-ft. 1/2" HOLE 95 Tarp trailer With a big plastic tarp. creating a vacuum as you try to lift out the bag. Adam Halverson HOOK. branches or mulch around your yard to wherever you need it. disgusting garbage liquids can leak out. MASONRY BIT WASHER ® 94 Trunk organizer Make an inexpensive trunk organizer with file crates or plastic bins. glossy surface like tile. near the bottom of the can. And so do you when you try to pull a full plastic bag out of a trash can. you can easily drag leaves. Choose a washer slightly larger than the head of your drill bit and align the washer opening over your starting point. Use self-adhesive hook-and-loop tape (like Velcro) to secure the bin to the fabric lining of your trunk. tarp costs home about $8 at and centers Dan Lund hardware stores. Daniel Rodman CELEBRATING 500 ISSUES WITH CLEVER SOLUTIONS TO EVERYDAY PROBLEMS . The bag forms an airtight seal inside the container. Tape the entire washer to the tile and you’ll have a steady guide. Drill through the side.
® 98 Spray-clean roller ROLLER FRAME Spin most of the excess paint off your roller sleeve by holding the roller frame inside a bucket and hitting it with a nozzled garden hose. McKnight 99 Pipe orienteering PVC FENCE POST ELECTRICAL FISH TAPE When trying to locate a pipe under the floor. In seconds it’ll be nearly paint free. Locate the magnet (and the pipe) under the floor using an ordinary compass. You’ll still have to use soap and water to finish. which will turn wildly when it finds the strong magnet. This creates a second tier for paperback storage. Kam Wadkins Keep 97 out ofrim rust paint You can get a clean pour out of an old paint can that has rust debris in its rim. doubling the number of books you can put on display.101 Handy Hints 96 Stadium-seating bookshelf Cut a hollow PVC fence post ($8 at home centers) to the length of your bookshelf and push it to the back of the shelf. attach a rare earth (neodymium) magnet to an electrical fish tape and feed it into drain lines through the cleanout plug. Lee Cordrey CELEBRATING 500 ISSUES WITH CLEVER SOLUTIONS TO EVERYDAY PROBLEMS . Decie C. but this’ll give you a huge head start. Just wrap the rim with tape to seal in the debris while you pour.
Just screw the brackets to the wall studs. You’ll get a streak-free finish without a pile of wet towels or waiting around to start waxing. Blow away the bulk of the water with the leaf blower and then finish up with a quick towel swipe.101 Handy Hints 100 Bike rack Closet pole and shelf brackets can keep your bikes up and out of the way of car doors and bumpers. Line the pole carriage with self-stick hook-and-loop strips so it won’t scratch your bike frame. Greg Brennfleck CELEBRATING 500 ISSUES WITH CLEVER SOLUTIONS TO EVERYDAY PROBLEMS . ® SELF-STICK HOOK-AND-LOOP STRIPS CLOSET POLE AND SHELF BRACKET 101 Streak-free car Your car will look like it rolled out of a professional car wash when you dry it with your leaf blower.